Tim Granlund: I am Tim, the 'Six String General' Granlund and I am showing you how to Air Guitar. Now we are going to talk about my favorite part of the whole thing, the competition. They started over a decade ago in Finland at the Oulu Music Video Festival. They wanted to celebrate world peace and emphasize that. So they rock and roll and the best way to do that was Air Guitar. Did you figure -- as they say, if everybody is holding an Air Guitar, they can hold a gun.
Now the US, they jumped into the ring about six years ago. They started with a couple of competitions, one in New York, one in LA and it's grown to its current form in its sixth year over 25 cities. The regional competitions and the winners of each of those get to go to the National Championship at the end. The winner of Nationals gets to go on to the Air Guitar World Championship at the Oulu Music Video Festival to be held in October of every year.
Air guitar competitions are an interesting thing. The way they work is you get a feel of contestants, each contestant is going to get 60 seconds. In the first round, they play whatever song they like. This is something they worked on at home, they have practiced on, but you get 60 seconds, no more no less. And then we have a panel of judges, maybe three or four of them. They are going to judge you on three things, the technical ability, your stage presence and your airiness.
Technical ability, this is clearly the least important of the categories but they are looking to see. Alright, you have your left hand making different notes appear, is your right hand roughly corresponding to the music playing the notes in the chords.
The next category is your stage presence. You own the stage. You own that crowd. Do you put on a show? Make it fun.
The last aspect of your performance that they are judging is your airiness. Now airiness is a bit hard to describe. You know it when you see it. But it's about how do you really transcend what you are doing. The lack of a guitar to create a unique piece of performance art, it kind of has a very elusive quality.
For the most part, either you have got it or you don't. I think one of the contestants in Philadelphia put it best, Rock isn't just about the music itself, it's about the posturing, the attitude, sex, drugs and Rock and Roll, it's got all of that and that's really what air guitar celebrating and that's what airiness really captures is just sort of that extra oomph that makes Rock and Roll, Rock and Roll.
Now you got all these three categories, and you going to get a numerical score. They are going to judge you on a scale like Figure Skating from 4.
0 to 6.
0. You have to count to get your scores. At the end of that first round, the top five scorers are going to move on. They will get their cumulative score, they move on to the second round.
Now the second round is really going to switch things up on you. This time everybody is playing the same song and nobody knows what it is. The competition body is going to pick a song and they are going to play it and everybody is going to get to hear at once. Then it's the time to go out in reverse order from fifth place to first place and you just got to improvise and bring out your true airiness, your true rocking skills and bust out a performance to that song. You will get scored again, 4.
0 to 6.
0. Then they are going to sum those totals together and there you have got your winner.
That's kind of have the competitions work. The competitions are great because you get a chance to go to big cities all around the country. Play some of the biggest and best clubs in the country. Sold out audiences, you get to be a rock star for 60 seconds at a time and just see what it's like to be actually to be Jon Bon Jovi, to be Aerosmith, to be Motley Crue and that's really great.
At the end of the day, there is celebration of Rock and Roll. It's all about having fun. So that's how the competitions work and now I am going to go ahead and show you how it's all done with an actual performance.